For most, the words Miami Vice bring back the more forgettable aspects of the '80s: men wearing gaudy pastel colors, sculpted 5 o'clock shadows, yuppies, Phil Collins. Oh, and Jan Hammer. For me personally, those words meant being able to stay up past 10 on a Friday night.
It's no secret that remaking TV shows that are nowhere nearly as good as you remember them to be into big budget movies is what all the kids are into these days. We've seen recent remakes like The Dukes of Hazzard, Bewitched and Starsky and Hutch that were abominable and gimmicky to the point that fond memories of the original shows were forever ruined.
But every once in a while the task cinematizing a TV series isn't screwed into the ground. When it isn't, you're often left with that feeling you get when you awake from a strange dream and it hasn't yet registered that you're conscious and okay.
Kind of like the movie version of Miami Vice. You know it was a TV show and all you can do to prepare yourself for the potential horror of its movie rendition is tighten your stomach muscles and put on an adult diaper. You wait and you wait but the pain never really comes. At least not in the way you expect it to.
The reason for this is because the movie version of Miami Vice is actually damn good. Some possible theories as to why involve Michael Mann, one of the greatest living American directors, who not only directed and wrote the movie, but created the original television series. He's had an incredible track record since Vice went off the air. Heat, Last of the Mohicans, The Insider, Ali and Collateral. Mann goes back to previous territory and updates Miami Vice. He books some top shelf talent with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx and does it right. He makes an interesting character study with some clutch action sequences instead of an action movie with a little story. It looks like every other Michael Mann movie but the man's got such a distinct style and it looks great anyway.
Miami Vice also works because it stands on its own and doesn't really acknowledge the show at all. No stupid cameos by Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas. No stupid pet alligator. Miami Vice doesn't go the way of the gimmick and the movie stands out because of it. Another place where Miami Vice scores extra points is in the fact that it didn't leave room for a sequel.
Which may or may not happen, considering that Farrell and Fox communicate mainlythrough grunting for a good part of the time and they lack the chemistry thattheir TV counterparts had. The sex scenes were pretty ehhh and the rest of thecast wasn't so hot. If nothing else it'll be one of the better movies you'veseen this year.
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